Day 294 Oct 20, 2019
INTIMACY – Raymond Carver
Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989
General – 9 Pages
This is a fun little study of the title topic, but after the relationship is over and all that’s left is guilt and anger. It’s fun enough, but there isn’t much to it. Should’ve maybe opened the book with these lesser Carver stories. That said, the dialogue is, as always with Carver, so human it’s a surprise he’d not just tapped into other people’s memories and wrote exactly what was said.
Day 295 Oct 21, 2019
L’APPEL DU VIDE by M.P. Giddings
Stories We Tell After Midnight – 2019
Horror – 5 Pages (about, digital)
I have a theory. I read a ton of indie horror, much of it unpublished (sometimes completely unpublishable). I’ve seen trends. Here, as with the first story of this anthology, is an educated writer, with serviceable skills, but little experience with modern horror fiction. It’s the work of well-trained interloper. It’s a story that reads like one of the classics and for that, it lacks modern textures and voice. An individual is riding on a ferry and staring into the swirling waters and a man in a black coat comes up and begins chatting the void and how the French have a term for succumbing to its charms. Now, if none of the remainder of the stories read with this same vibe, or only a couple, then adding this is a fun change of pace, but having the first two carry identical vibes and very similar voices suggests an unwitting pattern. All that said, cool idea, well enough executed.
Day 296 Oct 22, 2019
FALL GUY by George Herman Coxe
Black Mask – 2011 (originally published in Black Mask, 1936)
Crime – 22 Pages
Ah, old timey, hard-boiled crime, where the heroes might just have to be lucky or they might just be along for the ride. That’s the kind of hero I like, one who gets his ass kicked, one who’s wrong as often as they’re is right. This one isn’t as thick with the lingo as many others of that time, but the author loved the hell out of adverbs. It’s fast and twisty, going round and round until the reveal was there and everyone played their honest part. Good fun.
Day 297 Oct 23, 2019
SUNFLOWERS AND BLOOD by Mari Ness
Automata Review – 2019
General – 3 Pages (about, digital)
A somber little tale about grief. A tree has died, but I’m suspecting there’s something underneath it all, what with talk of a swing and little feet. That said, I don’t care to go digging, either I like a story or I don’t, though I always try to appreciate an author’s skill, voice, and intent. This one is strong in most of the important aspects—even if I’ve never considered someone’s muted emotion to be enough for a story to feed on. It’s quick and doesn’t dwell too long, but there’s also no great strike or turn, mostly just the sads.
Day 298 Oct 24, 2019
ENTER THE WOLF by Adam N. Leonard
Stories We Tell After Midnight – 2019
Horror – 6 Pages (about, digital)
This is an interesting reversal to most of the stories in this anthology. It’s clumsily and redundant in style, but it’s modern and suspenseful. It’s quick and the main character is realistically flawed, doing stupid things and underestimating people. Some bad, but more good.
Day 299 Oct 25, 2019
GROWING AND GROWING by Rich Larson
Nightmare Magazine – 2019
Horror – 3 Pages (about, digital)
About six of ten times I really don’t understand the appeal behind the stories published in Nightmare, but I keep going back because 40% is a hell of a lot better than zero and with stories free up on their website I can simply take a hike if I’m not digging something. This one’s in that 40%. I fucking love evil baby stories. I think it’s because everybody sees babies differently from me, and when a story about babies reveals their true nature—vampires, cannibals, demons bent on tormenting their creators—I’m all for it. This one’s unsettling, fast, and has a great ending.
Day 300 Oct 26, 2019
FEE by Peter Straub
Borderlands 4 – 1994
Horror – 69 Pages
Accidental re-read. I was already twenty pages in by the time I noticed. I think maybe Straub changed the title of it, too, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I kept on with the re-read, even with such a long story because I recalled how this one unnerved me. Upon revisit, it still unnerved, and disgusted me, but I noticed flaws I hadn’t seen before. Hell, twice on one tiny, pocket paperback page Fee nearly faints. This kind of feels like when someone gets famous and then gets windy because nobody tells them to cut out portions. People say that about King, but I don’t usually see it because I dig his style so much, so maybe people feel that way about Straub. Anyway, nasty bit of storytelling. Engaging and totally off-putting in all the intended ways.